On a crisp summer morning at 6:00am, there is only one thing that lures New Yorkers out of bed: the Cronut. A cross between a doughnut and a croissant, Dominique Ansel’s pastry hybrid has taken New York City by storm. Chef Dominique debuted his creation to the public on May 10, after hoping to inspire his team to think outside the (pastry) box. In an interview with Chef Dominique, he recalls this particular day: “I know we all work 14 hours, but we need to keep moving and think of something creative…like this Cronut thing over here. It may not be the best thing in the world, but maybe people will like it if we give them something new.” Reflecting on this day, Chef Dominique adds: “My goodness, I never knew just how much this little pastry would prove my point.”
The Cronut certainly did prove Chef Dominique’s point as it became an inspiration to Cronut impersonators and hungry pastry fiends nationwide. Eager costumers arrive at the SoHo bakery three hours before store opening to ensure that one of the 200 pastries baked daily will be theirs. Since the Cronut demand continues to exceed supply, Chef Dominique instituted a limit of two Cronuts per costumer. Rationing baked goods of this caliber has led Cronut-obsessed New Yorkers to resort to services like Premium Cronut Delivery for a hefty price tag of $100 per Cronut, and to scalpers selling these heavenly pastries for up to six times their price. With the Cronut craze in full swing, the Chew Crew decided we had to get our hands on these coveted confections. Thanks to the folks over at Dominique Ansel Bakery, we got the golden ticket to Cronut nirvana.
Flavor: Lemon Maple
Weight: 3.5 ounces
So, does the Cronut measure up to its lofty reputation? Upon arrival at the SoHo hotspot, Cronut enthusiasts are greeted by Chef Dominique’s gracious staff distributing freshly baked madeleines, and then by Chef Dominique himself as the line of 200 people approaches the bakery door. Whether it is a craving or pure curiosity that drove this crew to stand on the corner of Spring and Thompson, each person yearned to gain entry into the exclusive club of Dominique Ansel Cronut Eaters. A few people planned to give their two Cronuts to friends as gifts, while one gentleman intended to send pictures to his children back home in Utah. When we asked two ecstatic women about their first bites, one exclaimed: “Fireworks!”, while another screamed: “Butter!” Our panel of tasters has to agree – luscious lemon cream fills the flaky, buttery shell, which is then generously dusted in maple sugar and a tart lemon glaze. It is simply divine.
Despite the rave reviews, Chef Dominique insists his bakery will not become a Cronut shop. In fact, his team launched five new pastries the other week, including a salted lemon tart with lime mousse, a Rasp-cherry religieuse, a Sunflower tart, in addition to a summer collaboration series with six of Chef Dominique’s favorite pastry chefs. In addition to these new projects, the sleep-deprived team of six must come together morning after morning for another bustling day of Cronut madness. But, before the doors open, Chef Dominique takes a moment to share his words of encouragement: “There are six of us, and 200 people outside. Let’s stand strong and make sure everyone leaves happy, with or without a Cronut."
Leave happy we did, luckily with Cronuts in tow. After we tasted these pastry gems and there was not a crumb left in sight, we unanimously agreed that the pilgrimage was worthwhile – not only for the Cronut, but also for the palpable energy that radiates from blocks away, for Chef Dominique’s passion for each pastry in his case (like his personal favorite, the DKA), and for the surprisingly composed demeanor from the moment you set foot in this magical world of pastries. As we left this cozy SoHo spot, we emerged a bit rounder, infinitely happier, and inspired to live by Dominque’s words to Sous Chef Anna McGorman, “Keep Calm and Cronut On.”
Looking for more first bite reactions? Fast forward to 5 minutes in the video above to see The Chew Crew’s impressions of these delectable pastries.